There was a day, after getting my eyes straightened surgically, I thought I might give modeling a try to help earn money on the side for college. So, my good friend, who recently had jumped into photography on the side of his schooling, offered to take some shots for my portfolio.
The whole experience of putting on makeup, coloring my hair, and posing to get the best angles was painful for me (to say the least). Not that getting my picture taken was physically painful, but having the attention focused squarely on me was. At that time, my confidence had grown quite a bit after military training and eye surgery, but deep inside, I was still very insecure.
A few weeks after the photo shoot, I decided I would take my portfolio to a nearby modeling agency to have them look and see if they thought I had a shot. I still remember walking in the door over 31 years ago and seeing their faces not so subtly saying, ‘Here’s another one who thinks they have what it takes…’.
The manager, who was at the front desk, was a mature woman dressed in a business suit. She and her assistant cautiously welcomed me and offered to review my photos. Within seconds, I knew I wasn’t cut out for it.
They were very open with their thoughts. Commenting on my features, they immediately said my eyes weren’t far enough apart on my face to be symmetrical. Meaning, I didn’t have the right genes. But, they did say I was tall and could do runway work or try out for a character actor role of some kind.
My feelings were crushed. I really had it in my mind that I had what it would take and, boy, was I wrong. The idea of walking up and down a stage in front of people didn’t appeal to me. Nor did the thought of being a character actor (something today I think I would probably enjoy). Why? Because of my vanity.
I had spent nearly 4 years at a Christian university studying theology, 3-5 days a week in church, and every other word that came out of my mouth was God. Yet, in my heart, vanity took a root. The good news is that God didn’t allow that to stay and was patient with my childish ways.
Today, I still find myself, from time-to-time, taking that second look in the mirror to be sure my hair is right, my teeth are clean, and my shirt doesn’t make me look bigger in the wrong areas and is form fitting in the right ones. Is that vanity? Maybe a little. Mostly, it’s just me not wanting to scare people when I go outside, and of course, wanting the Mrs. to like me.
With the craze of Instagram and selfies, vanity has become the norm. It’s astonishing to see how many young people crave the attention of others and the extremes they’ll go to get it. Sadly, it never fulfills that insecurity inside.
It seems like every day there’s an actor, model, or rock star who, on the outside has the world’s envy, but on the inside, is a train wreck. It’s no wonder the Bible talks about how God hates vanity. The reason isn’t because we’re so vain, but because, when we put the attention on ourselves, we take it off others. More importantly, we take it off Him.
The life of denying one’s self is the hallmark of my faith, yet, in the culture we live, it seems that is the antithesis of what is deemed important; beauty. Many times, I’ve thought about closing all of my social media accounts just for that reason (along with the political rancor). If allowed, it can be a vacuum into the world of self-absorption.
Thankfully, we have a loving God who is patient with us and understands our needs. He loves us despite ourselves; not because we’re beautiful, but because we’re His. He won’t judge us by our exterior, but by our insides; our hearts. He loves the less beautiful the same as the super-model. For that reason, vanity is truly a waste of time.
So, today, here’s to letting our hair down. Here’s to being more concerned about other’s needs more than our appearance. Here’s to loving the least and giving the most…
Love always friends,
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